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Wave Energy

Ocean waves are created by wind passing over extensive stretches of sea. Because wind is originally derived from solar energy, waves may be considered to be stored form of renewable energy. The possibility of extracting energy from ocean waves has intrigued man for centuries but it is only in the past few decades that serious efforts have been made to harness this energy.

In general, generating electricity using wave energy devices has few environmental drawbacks and provides a clean source of renewable energy. Wave energy is a major resource, particularly around the British Iles, and has the potential to become a significant contribution to the reduction of carbon emissions. The north east Atlantic is a particularly favourable area where offshore wave power can average around 70kW/m. The total achievable UK resource for offshore floating devices has been estimated as 6GW which is equivalent to 50 TWh of electrical energy per annum or 40% of the energy supplied annually within the UK. This is about-one third of the European wave energy resource.

Wave power estimates for UK offshore sites

The cost of energy projections for current wave energy devices suggest further invention and development is required before an economic technical solution is forthcoming. Recent developments of the SEA Clam wave energy device carried out by Sea Energy Associates Ltd. may lead to a cost effective way forward.

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